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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                165
Assam, is found occasionally in the eastern districts. The
indigenous flora is much more extensive than that of the
upper Gangetic plain, comprising all the species which grow
there except those belonging to the Egyptian or arid flora,
besides many others which are not found to the north-west.
Ferns are numerous, and a few epiphytical Orckidea are
found upon the trees, Vanda Roxburghii being the most com-
mon. One of the most-remarkable forms is a species of rose
(R. irivolucrata), which is common in the grassy jungles of
the northern parts of Bengal. Many peninsular species
which are prevented by the cold of winter from extending
northward to the upper Gangetic plain are abundant in Ben-
gal. The common shrubs are species of Zizyphus, Adhytoda,
Calotropis, Carissa, Melastoma, Alangium, Stravadium, Tetran-
thera, Antidesma, and Guatteria suberosa. Pedalium Murex,
Tiaridium Indicum, Trichodesma Zeylanicwm, Coldenia pro-
cumbens, Thespls divaricata, and Tiliacora acuminata may be
mentioned as instances of peninsular forms which are equally
common in Bengal, but are not found in the upper Gangetic
plain. One of the most curious natives of Bengal is Ethulia
divaricata, a tropical African plant, which is found nowhere
else in India. The flora of Bengal does not exhibit much
affinity with that of the Malayan Peninsula, containing no
Gycas, Oaks, nor Nutmegs, though these all grow in Chitta-
gong very little to the eastward, and in the Khasia hills on
the north-east frontier.
Within the influence of the tides the delta of the Ganges
is covered with a dense jungle of trees peculiar to salt-marshes,
called the Sunderbunds. This is most largely developed in
the western parts of the delta, where the rise and fall of the
tides are not considerable, and where there is but little influx
of fresh water. To the eastward, near the mouth of the Megna,
the bay is almost fresh, and its shores are muddy without
vegetation. The rise and fall of the tides are here so consi-
derable, that there is not the same facility for the growth of
shrub and trees along the margin of the oceau, that there is